From Obamacare to Amnesty, Obama’s Goals Threaten U.S. Economy

Congress just completed the first phase of a difficult but crucial battle against Obamacare.  This struggle is yet unfinished, but conservatives will continue to fight against Obamacare because it will harm America as long as it remains law.  Obamacare is a fiscal nightmare for our country, which is already saddled with $17 trillion of debt.  But leftist policy ideas that threaten the economy don’t stop there.  The next big battle will be to prevent amnesty, the vehicle for which may be the Senate’s Gang of 8 bill.

Under the Affordable Care Act, entitlement spending will increase massively, growing our nation’s debt; entitlement spending is already a massive source of our debt in America which will only be exacerbated by the Affordable Care Act.  And if the nearly 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States are granted amnesty, they will become eligible for entitlements as well.  This cost will be a massive burden to the U.S. economy and the American taxpayers. 

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Surprise! CBO Says Health Care Spending Will Cause U.S. Debt to Reach Record Heights

A report issued today by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), The 2013 Long-Term Budget Outlook, indicates that health care spending in the U.S. is going to cause our debt to reach record high levels.

This is definitely not a surprise; conservatives, researchers at the Heritage Foundation among many others, have been warning politicians about this for years.

Back in 2012, Heritage’s Alyene Senger noted that Obamacare’s entitlement spending will make this problem dramatically worse in the years ahead:

Obamacare’s major provisions begin to kick in in 2014, and this will result in federal spending for health care programs other than Medicare and Medicaid rising from $26 billion this year to $161 billion in 2022. 

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Those Crazy Kids

This morning, the Executive Editor of Business Insider tweeted a random thought that deserves a more thorough response than 140 characters.

crazykidstweet

Let’s start with the economic assumptions in this 140 character encapsulation of liberalism.

Youths, as we will call them here, are currently financing the fiscal boondoggles that are America’s entitlement programs.  They felt the effects first hand upon receiving their first paycheck of 2013 only to discover a smaller amount of take home pay thanks to the expiration of a holiday in our Social Security financing mechanism, the payroll tax.  The payroll and income taxes of the youths also go to finance that vast majority of the Medicare program.

And Heritage estimates that to close a massive hole in just one part of Medicare, the Part A Hospital Insurance Trust Fund will require an equally massive tax hike on, you guessed it, the very same youths.

As someone who qualifies as a “youth” in this context, I will admit that we often suffer from a dearth of long-term thinking.  However, that does not excuse any of us from facing the longer-term effects of these programs.

Over the next 32 years, before most 20-somethings become eligible for Medicare and Social Security, the spending on those two programs, plus our other health care entitlements, will crowd out all other spending.

Remember all of the programs the President falsely claims will be decimated by today’s sequester?  There will not be a single solitary cent of revenue to pay for head start, food inspectors, airport security or weather satellites in the near future if entitlement spending continues unchecked.  Surely, many youths allegedly hostile to entitlement reform care very much about these programs.  Look no further than this past election for evidence of that.

Youths are, of course, the most transient and artificial of interest groups.

One day we will all be on those programs as well, assuming they survive, which is a big assumption at the moment.  Do you, the youth, want to be trapped in a set of programs designed for the 1960s?

Medicare, for example, is meant to be a government guaranteed health insurance plan for those over 65.  But you wouldn’t know it from looking at the program, which is currently in four parts: a hospital benefit, a physician services benefit, a private combination of the two, and a private prescription drug benefit, all of which are financed in different ways.

This is a ludicrous way to run a health insurance plan.

Youths, imagine if a salesman offered you an auto insurance plan in four parts: Part A covered the engine and the premium was withheld from your paycheck, Part B covered the body of the car and you paid monthly for that, Part C was combination of A and B if you preferred, and Part D covered all the fluids, but you paid a third party for that coverage.  Oh and if you actually got in an accident and significantly damaged your car, you’d need to get coverage for that from someone else.

Is this something that really appeals to the Twitter generation, or any generation for that matter?

Beyond the enormous economic implications of failing to reform entitlements, there is an even more troubling cultural assumption embedded here: “Do young people desire to take care of their retiring parents directly?”

The short answer is yes.  At least they should want to if we are going to have any type of meaningful society.

Regardless of the amount of benefits the federal government offers our parents, we – the youths – have a duty to care for them.  They are our family, our responsibility.  Paying into entitlement programs that provide our parents with some financial security does nothing to eliminate the obligation we have to ensure their quality of life during retirement.

Can a faceless bureaucracy can really ensure that your parents are getting the health care they need, the health care they deserve?  Does anyone really believe the government can guarantee they have the activities and friendship that every human needs?  Can the government fill the void left in a parent’s life by being abandoned by their children?

Conservatives envision entitlement programs that serve as insurance against poverty and operate in a manner that is better for both current beneficiaries and beneficiaries to come.  We envision a vibrant civil society that encourages thriving families and communities that support their members at all stages of life.  And that is a vision for America that has true and lasting appeal.

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The Federal Government’s New Year’s Resolution

It should be to cut spending, especially by reforming entitlements.  In fact, they should resolve to do this soon and honor those reforms far into the future.

Just look at this Heritage Foundation chart:

The federal government has done a great deal of harm to the American people by driving up the debt.   “As it is, children born in the United States today—who won’t pay taxes for years yet—are saddled with a more than $50,000 share of the national debt.”

Heritage’s Romina Boccia reminds us that historically, from 1959-2008, all federal spending has amounted to 18.1 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) each year.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, spending is expected to surge to 35.7 percent of GDP by 2037.

Of course, it’s “[f]ederal spending on entitlements and interest on the debt drives the federal budget crisis,” and we will remain in an ever-worsening crisis “as long as [lawmakers] neglect to address the structural problems in the entitlement programs that are driving the nation deeper and deeper into debt.”

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Saving America for Future Generations, Cliffs and All

When Katharine Lee Bates wrote America the Beautiful in 1893, she sang the praises of our purple mountain majesties and fruited plains, but she made no mention of our cliffs, although we do have a sprinkling of them across the country.  Little did she know that 119 years later, our whole country would be headed over a cliff, fiscal though it may be.  Thankfully, the Heritage Foundation is helping to fulfill her prayer and to mend our nation’s flaws:

America! America! 
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law! 

Heritage experts Alison Acosta Fraser, William W. Beach, and Stuart M. Butler have produced valuable research and proposed suggestions for saving the American Dream during “fiscal cliff” negotiations and beyond.   Heritage is putting forth the ideas necessary to reverse the negative Washington trends of fiscal irresponsibility, out of control spending, and excessive taxation, which are all affronts to our liberty and prosperity.

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